Photo courtesy The Power of Community via The Desert Sun

The Build Coachella Valley Fund (BCVF) has been on a mission to ease food insecurity in 2024. The signature fund of the Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) sprang to life in 2023 as a way to support the urgent social, environmental, and economic resilience of the area.

Food insecurity is such a fundamental issue,” says Jeremy Hobbs, President of Western Wind Foundation, IECF Board Member and BCVF Founding Chairperson. “A lot of people in the Valley maybe don’t know about some of the challenges the area faces. We have a lot of people who are living close to the subsistence level and who are facing economic challenges. We’re largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, which are okay; that’s not just what keeps us going.”

“One of the great assets we have is what I call the human infrastructure of the Valley,” he adds.

To that end, BCVF employs a collective impact approach to fundraising and grantmaking. It strives to add new sparks to local philanthropy by investing collaboratively in effective, mission-driven organizations that “uplift well-being and build prosperity” for Coachella Valley residents.

Recently, the BCVF committee met to initiate 14 grant proposals. They awarded $161,000, distributed to the following eight organizations:

The real purpose of BCVF is to bring it all together and direct the funds,” Hobbs says. “Sometimes we look at people who have a pretty large income in the states, and they look at their giving plan, and they think, ‘Gosh, which organization should we support? Maybe we care about these issues, but there are so many nonprofits,’ One of the wonderful things about the IE Community Foundation is that’s what we do. I mean, the way I phrase it is, we know ‘home.’”

IECF works with thousands of nonprofits, in fact, and BCVF allows the donor to lay their desires to give back mindfully in the hands of the organization.

“That’s one of the really strong points about IECF; we know the community,” says Hobbs, who’s been focusing his attention on philanthropy in the region since 2012.

To be sure, Coachella Valley is revered for being a stellar desert resort destination. Nearly 3.5 million visitors arrive annually to soak up the sunshine, various festivals, sports, LGBTQ endeavors, glamour and more. For its residents, it’s even much more than that, with charitable giving becoming a key component of their lifestyles.

That is key, considering that half of Coachella Valley households have a net worth of $1.2 million, yet 25 percent of local children live below the federal poverty line.

“I remember saying in the beginning, ‘Let’s look at the region as an entire region and what can we do to build this region over the next 20 to 30 to 40 years,” Hobbs says. “We started to put it together that way and pull it together in a year. We raised enough money to give away $160,000 in our first year or two.”

Food distribution at FIND Food Bank

“The long-term plan is to build it as both an endowed and the non-endowed portion so if people want to give as part of their estate plan, we build up an endowment,” he adds. “I would love to see it be a long-term endowed fund. But in the meantime, we want to make sure we’re also giving away money currently to support the organizations that are doing the work today.”

This program was made possible by leadership contributions from Western Wind Foundation, Amazon, Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation, and IECF’s generous individual donors.

Learn more about Build Coachella Valley Fund at

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